The Tenant Farmers Association has set out what it believes would be a successful outcome from the Dairy Allied Industry Forum to be held on Tuesday 15 March.
TFA National Chairman, Stephen Wyrill said “I will be attending tomorrow’s meeting to represent the interests of my members, many of whom are simply at breaking point. What started out as a crisis in the dairy sector has now developed into a state of chronic depression. I fear that we are in the last chance saloon and if we do nothing the consequences for domestic dairy production will be catastrophic.”
“The forum must put its weight behind a programme of urgent, EU wide production control. Domestic constraints on production will only be undermined if other European countries are not similarly constrained. To date the EU Commission has rejected calls for volume control but we must stand together to get it to think again,” said Mr Wyrill.
“The TFA does not believe that raising the EU Intervention Price will help. Such a move will only provide a temporary outlet for processors and cause stocks to overhang the market to delay any hope of a long-term recovery. We do however believe that both domestically and at an EU level we should look again at the opportunities for removing milk and milk products from the market through charitable outlets,” said Mr Wyrill.
“Sadly, there are many producers who feel they are on a downhill treadmill which just won’t stop and from which they cannot escape. The forum needs to advocate that the EU provides a viable out-goers scheme to create dignified and rational routes for individuals in this position to exit the dairy sector,” said Mr Wyrill.
“Processors and retailers also need to play their part. There is no justification for processors driving down milk prices on the one hand and continuing to pay volume bonuses with the other. There must be an agreement across the industry for this to stop. Processors are also abusing the A/B contract model by using low “B” prices to expand their market share rather than using the model to bring production into balance. If processors are not willing to work with the industry we need greater regulatory scrutiny of their activities within the groceries chain by the Groceries Code Adjudicator,” said Mr Wyrill.
“Looking ahead, the forum must also back the newly developed plan for promotion from AHDB and Dairy UK. I am pleased that AHDB Dairy has responded to the TFA’s challenge over its lack of promotional activity. We will watch, challenge and work with the AHDB as this develops to ensure the effectiveness of the campaign,” said Mr Wyrill.